Last updated on March 30th, 2017 at 04:46 pm
Vermont Creamery has been purchased by Land O’Lakes Inc., a farmer-owned co-op based in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Vermont Creamery will become an independently operated subsidiary of Land O’Lakes and will continue to produce its fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter and fresh dairy at the creamery in Websterville, Vermont. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We have always taken seriously our commitment to our farmers, employees and Vermont’s working landscape—these values are at the core of our decision to sell the business,” said co-founder Allison Hooper. “As we experience unprecedented growth, we need a partner who can bring the resources and expertise necessary to help us realize our vision and the potential of our business.”
Added Land O’Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski, “We purchased Vermont Creamery and welcome them to the Land O’Lakes family because we love their brand and would like to help bring it to even more people. We share a value-added, branded approach to marketing our products, a meaningful respect for our customers and deeply rooted rural values.”
Hooper and fellow Vermont Creamery co-founder Bob Reese started the business in 1984. They say Land O’Lakes is the ideal new owner. A farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative, Land O’Lakes has been in operation for more than 95 years. Widely known for its butter brand, it is a diverse business that also includes Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField United. At its core, Land O’Lakes is driven by agricultural products that return value to farmers and fulfill its purpose of feeding human progress, according to Hooper and Reese.
“Vermont Creamery’s heritage mirrors our own here at Land O’Lakes—a company founded by people who care about bringing the highest quality products from farm to fork,” said Beth Ford, Land O’Lakes group EVP and COO. “We are excited about the culture of product innovation they have built in addition to the category itself and the opportunities for even more expansion.”
Reese said, “After years of thoughtful planning and a rigorous selection process, we are confident that we have found the best steward of our business, values and people in Land O’Lakes. We are both respected dairy brands with deep connections to farmers and an unyielding commitment to quality and innovation. We look forward to this opportunity to tell our story more broadly and increase access to our high-quality dairy products.”
Reese and Hooper will serve as advisors and brand ambassadors for the business. President Adeline Druart and the leadership team will remain in place as will all employees of the business. Ayers Brook Goat Dairy is not included in the transaction. The Hooper family will retain ownership of the farm, which will continue to serve as a key supplier to the creamery and catalyst for the growth of the goat dairy industry in Vermont.
Druart, president of Vermont Creamery, said, “Bob and Allison have been such incredible entrepreneurs building Vermont Creamery’s success and mentoring the team on their vision and values for the business. Partnering with Land O’Lakes adds the next key ingredients for our growth: additional resources and dairy expertise. This transaction positions Vermont Creamery for continued success in the future.”